Santorini Caldera

Location: Fira

The crescent-shaped Caldera of Santorini is the biggest gem in the Aegean and one of the most impressive places to visit in the world!
Thousands of visitors arrive every year to spend a holiday like no other in the caldera’s picturesque villages and admire the views, turning Santorini into one of Greece's most photographed locations!

The history

The current shape of the caldera was formed more than 3500 years ago, when a huge volcanic eruption altered the Mediterranean topography for good.
It has an elevation, which varies from 150 to 350 meters.
The distance from one end of the island (Cape Exomitis) to the other end (Cape Mavropetra) is 18 km.
The island's breadth varies from 2 to 6 km.
The landscape at the caldera consists of steep rocks and massive cliffs, often above cloud level.
It is one of the most beautiful locations in Greece and will continue to be so, at least for a few centuries to come, until the next eruption takes place.
The best way to find out more about the unique geological profile of the caldera is to visit the famous volcano of Santorini by boat and see where it all began!

Interesting Facts

The Caldera is linked to one of the world’s top unsolved ancient mysteries

Many experts have several reasons to believe that the right location to look for answers regarding the famous myth of Atlantis is no other than Santorini. What secrets lie in the bottom of the Aegean Sea around the caldera? One can only wonder.

The Caldera is the only inhabited caldera in the world

No matter how many destructive eruptions occurred in the past, the locals have never given up. The villages of Santorini have been patiently rebuilt many times, after every major eruption or earthquake that wiped the island’s former settlements.

Things to do on the caldera

Watch the sunset at one of the Caldera villages

Oia: At the northernmost point of the caldera, you will find the charming town of Oia.
Most people may already be familiar with Oia, since this small town is one of the most photographed places in Greece.
With its postcard-like scenery, Oia encapsulates the essence of the Cyclades and is known as the best place to watch the sunset in Santorini.
This town is full of life, with bars, restaurants and hotels that have been constructed on the edge of the caldera’s steep cliffs to provide panoramic views.

Fira: Being the capital town of Santorini, Fira is essentially the heart of the island and the liveliest place to visit on the caldera.
Several popular viewpoints in Fira will allow you to admire the Aegean Sea, the majestic volcano and the whitewashed houses along the caldera.
A large part of the town is literally built on a cliffside a few hundreds of meters above the sea and many hotels, restaurants and bars that are located there have every right to boast their views!
Fira is certainly beautiful at sunset time, offering a captivating views.

Imerovigli: Offering panoramic views of the sea, Imerovigli is another must. The quaint village is built on the highest point of the caldera and it is said to be one of the best viewpoints in Santorini.
In fact, the location used to be a lookout point during the past and a Venetian fortress was constructed there.
These days, Imerovigli offers some cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy your meal or drink while gazing at the beautiful scenery.

The best way to enjoy those villages to the fullest is to book your accommodation in one of the hotels located there! There is a wide variety of accommodation facilities to choose from, including suites, villas and more. The caldera villages are certainly among the best places for a stay in Santorini and finding your dream hotel won’t be difficult!

Go hiking

The hiking path from Fira to Oia is the most popular trail to follow on the island. This unique hiking route offers the opportunity to visit some of the best viewpoints on the Caldera and also pass through the picturesque villages of Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli and Oia.
It is about 10 km long and it usually takes up to 5 hours. It is considered a fairly easy hiking path and it is beginner-friendly.
In Santorini, it is generally recommended to go hiking during the early morning or late afternoon hours if you are visiting during the summer to avoid the burning midday sun, since there is usually little to no shade.
It is also advised to bring water and snacks so that you don’t have to search for shops in the villages.
You may also combine this path with Skaros rock starting at Imerovigli.
Other shorter hiking paths are also available, including the Old Harbour Trail, also known as Karavolades Stairs. The trail is basically 588 steps in total, which you can climb on foot or you can ride a donkey to go down and use a cable car to go up. If you choose to go on foot, the path can be quite tiring and you will probably need from 1 to 3 hours.

Biking tours, organized hiking trips, horseback riding and other amazing tours and activities are offered for those who want to explore around the caldera by themselves or in groups.

Tours and activities related to Caldera

How to get there

Caldera is a basin, four miles in diameter and you can admire its view from Fira, Imerovigli, Firostefani, Akrotiri, Megalochori and Oia.

Tours: Discover the Caldera with an organized tour, starting from 50€.

Private transfers: We recommend using an online pre-booked transfer service, which provides transfer by taxi, minibus or private VIP car and arranging a pickup directly from your hotel. Alternatively, there’s the option of arranging a pickup by a local driver directly at the following numbers: 0030 690 679 4316, 0030 22860 22555.

Car rental: There’s the option of renting a car with as little as 14.5 euro per day and pick it up directly from your hotel. You can then visit the Caldera but also many other places of interest.

Public transfers: You can reach all the villages with Caldera view by bus from Fira Central station. Consider that time schedules might change according to the season. Check the official timetables here.
Tip:  Since buses don’t always stop in every scheduled stop of their itinerary, our advice to visitors is to inform the driver about their final destination, so that he makes a stop there.

Another option, is to book an accommodation with Caldera view.

Map Of Caldera

Reviews of Caldera

2 Reviews
  • reton32 16 Oct 2010
    Best spot for wedding
    What to say about caldera? There are no words. The best place in the world, best view, best spot to get married. Actually I saw many couples getting married in Santorini while I was there. No wonder, because truly you can't find a more romantic place for your wedding. Looking at the sunset was a marvelous experience, the sun going into the sea in pink and orange background! It is too sad that the sunset ended so quickly!
  • gareth 02 Jun 2010
    The beautiful beaches, buildings of special beauty, mouth-watering Greek dishes with view to the sunset and excellent spots for coffee early in the morning – that's what Caldera is all about to me.

    The romantic spot, beautiful experience of tranquility and proximity to nature is to be cherished. The imprint of the caldera is evident all over the island, in all the aspects of life: architecture, food, tourism, beaches, everywhere. The caldera is certainly the most tourist attraction of Santorini. The scenic beauty and the mesmerizing spots, all made excellent impressions to us and we realized what makes all the beauty of Santorini.

    However, the bad thing is that the locals take great trade of this beauty. I found that some of the exquisite hotels and spectacular restaurants with view to the caldera were way too pricey. Well, that's life, isn't it? You have to pay for something so beautiful! But it's worth it, my friends, it's totally worth it!